York County congressmen, Wolf honor former President George H.W. Bush

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Two Republican York County congressmen and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf briefly put Pennsylvania politics and partisanship aside to honor former President George H.W. Bush.

Rep. Scott Perry, R-Carroll Township, paid tribute to Bush while he was lying in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, but both Wolf and Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, attended the funeral service Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Washington's National Cathedral.

Bush died Friday, Nov. 30, at the age of 94.

Despite their differing political backgrounds and ideologies, the lawmakers agreed on one thing: The 41st president was an inspirational figure who touched the hearts of many through politics and humanitarian service. 

Bush was the longest-living president in history. On Wednesday, he and his legacy proved to be a beloved segment of the country's history as thousands attended the service.

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Visitors pay their respects in front of the flag-draped casket of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the U.S Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 3, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Humbled: Both Smucker and Wolf said they were humbled by the experience.

"The service was an opportunity to reflect on the vital importance of public service and the responsibility each of us have as citizens to make a positive impact in our own lives and for others," Wolf said. "It was an occasion to suspend partisan politics and celebrate a life of service."

Smucker, who represents Lancaster and southern York counties, said the funeral and tribute were "incredibly well-done and incredibly moving." 

"We all know people who have served the country in so many different ways," Smucker said. "But with Bush, you have someone who lived a lifetime of service. This is a person who not only served the country well but served it with integrity."

He added the former president exemplified "what leadership is all about."

Jenna Bush Hager, second from left, her husband Henry Hager, left, her twin sister Barbara Bush, right, and Barbara's husband Craig Coyne, second from right, gather around the flag-draped casket of their grandfather, former President George H.W. Bush as he lie in state at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Perry: Perry, who represents Cumberland, Dauphin and northern York counties, said his schedule didn't allow him to attend the funeral. But he detailed the solemn yet grand atmosphere present when he paid homage to Bush in the Capitol.

"You're kind of easily distracted by the magnitude of the moment and the gravity of the circumstance," Perry said. "It's pretty impactful. It was somber, solemn, but also grand."

The congressman said that although his political beliefs better aligned with former President Ronald Reagan, he still greatly respected Bush, especially given his family values and service in the Navy.

"He was one of the most qualified presidents that we ever had," he said. "I always had a great deal of respect for him, despite disagreements from a policy standpoint."

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.